I’VE BEEN DEFRIENDED!

Being so busy watching, listening and reading  the “breaking news” constantly on TV, radio and the newspapers, I had not noticed the silence of our daughter-in law on Facebook.  Turns out, she wasn’t  silent at all.  She’s all for Trump!  And I’m all against.

I’ve been defriended!

Some time back I wrote a blog about our friends slipping away from us over this election and the candidates.  Now I see, it’s not just in my back yard, but in my house as well.  (Not literally, of course, she has her own home!)

Our daughter-in-law works for a company where the local union is for Trump and that’s enough for her.  She’s also very religious and the Democratic stand on abortion is abhorrent to her.  I don’t think she’s as adamant about owning guns, but some of her co-workers do own them, so that could be another issue.

She won’t discuss it with me.  She has chosen to be silent and not get into an argument.  Our son, however, is a registered Democrat, who is wishy-washy on the subject.  And she could change him if she wanted to.

As someone interested in history, I am aware of how volatile presidential campaigns can be.  Still, I’d like to think that a person deciding on how to vote looks at the whole picture, not just an issue or two.  For example, how we vote will affect the Supreme Court and will reverberate for generations.

How can we be an enlightened country in the world when we have such unenlightened policies?  We don’t value minorities – which includes women – the same as we do white men.  How can that be?  How is it that we have not had a woman president up to this point?

We have a Congress that is so deadlocked that it does nothing.  How can we remain the greatest country in the world if we do not act… do not compromise… do not care?  Greed has replaced our once great vision for our country. Where are our “great statesmen”?

Our “manifest destiny” is about to wither.  I weep over the possible outcome of this election.  I weep over lost friends and family.  I weep for the future of my grandchildren.  I struggle with the issues, but can barely keep up with it all.

Besides that, I’ve been defriended!

Sunday Dinner

As far back as I can remember Sunday dinner was a really special meal.  It might be hash during the week, but on Sunday it was a big beef roast, with potatoes, and gravy and all the other food groups.  Or it could be a roast chicken, with mashed potatoes and gravy and all the other food groups.  And dessert.  Always dessert.  My mother made the best pie.

And before dinner was church.  Sometimes my mfamily dinnerother stayed home from church to finish up a really special meal. Whether or not, the dinner the rest of the family came home to was always wonderful.

As a kid I liked the whole experience implied by the name.  Sunday dinner. A weekly meal when we all sat down together and talked together, sharing our weekly activities, our experiences, our laughs, our unhappy moments and even a hint about our regrets.   As a teen I grumped about sharing except when the focus was on me.  Typical reaction.  As a college student I had plenty of attention when I came home, so it didn’t matter as much that the rest of the family was getting some too.  As an adult, I appreciated that the other, now scattered family members were sharing a glimpse into their lives.  Then, as a wife and mother I was pleased that my immediate family all received “airtime” at the table when we visited.  All so typical, I suppose, but we were a typical American family.  No major issues among us.

This is a tradition that, as a wife and mother, I carried on in my immediate family.  We always met for Sunday dinner, no matter how involved the children were in something else – sports, music, movies, friends and more.  Fortunately, they grew up before the advent of ipads and iphones.  My reaction would have been to put these devices down or they would be taken away.  I was tough.

I’m pleased that my oldest child (also female) is continuing the tradition.  My other two children are not on a regular basis.  As it is convenient, I suppose, or the urge to make the effort is greater than not.

During my childhood Sunday dinner was one of those traditions that was a mainstay.  There were a great many traditions as I was growing up.  Among them were courtesy to others, caring about the underdog, polite behavior when in public.  Oh, pockets of these traits may remain, but it would seem the “general public” has set these aside to embrace controversy and even hatred instead.  Maybe it’s that the media is focusing on the hateful actions of others more than ever – and maybe not.  Maybe it’s that more media exists today and 24-hour coverage must include something controversial – maybe not.

Still, what is happening today in our public life is not traditional.  How far have we (the universal we) come in moving away from our traditions?  Yes, even to whom we elect as our president. We are looking at choices now that are so non-traditional it is staggering.  Surely that crazy man named Trump is putting us on!  Surely no one can be that obnoxious in real life.  Now, electing a woman is fine with me.  It’s about time.  But why such a controversial woman?  Then there’s the Socialist who’s running as a Democrat.  Wow.  What a field of candidates to choose from.

Our president has said, “That’s now who we are,” but I’m thinking, “Maybe it didn’t used to be, but it seems like it is now.”

Just now everything is politics.  But like Sunday dinner, “politics” is no longer traditional.

NOTHING PROFOUND HERE

This is my seventh blog since the first of the year, but the first I have published.  Why? Well, for one thing, all the others sound like I’m whining.  Which I am.  So, what’s the problem?

Well!  The race for president of the United States has already begun.  The candidates for one party have sunk so low that it’s disgusting.  Yes, I’m whining.  How can anyone be proud of such behavior?  And it’s getting worse.  If one of them is elected, how can we as Americans be proud of our president?  What crazy thing will he do?  How much trouble will he make for our country?

U S Flag

I would like to write something profound, something that would turn around all those who are in favor of such candidates, make them see the ridiculousness and even the danger of it.  But nothing profound comes to mind.

Am I still whining?  Probably. Actually I’m heartsick.  I can’t see the future as anything but glum if any of these extreme candidates should become president.  Yes, there are some moderates running, but they are not as charismatic with the crowds.  And the candidates react to those crowds, speaking and acting even more wildly.

So I’m also disgusted with many of my fellow Americans.

Whine, whine.  Nothing profound here.

ELECT A VETERAN

We all know that things aren’t working right.  In so many ways.  Our politicians refuse to compromise, our young black men are being shot down by police or arrested in alarming numbers for minor offenses, our poor are unable to find life-supporting work, our sick are in need of better health care, our women are not valued, our mentally ill seem to run rampant in the streets… Well, I guess we all know the list.

What’s the answer?  Is there an answer?

After World War II our soldiers returned and built a nation.  Many continued their service locally all the way to the top of the political ladder.  Many served in Congress.  Maybe that helped keep us out of so many skirmishes and conflicts; they knew about war and its effects.

They didn’t become “the Greatest Generation” for nothing!  They were working to make America a great nation, at home just as it had been abroad.

Honor Roll face

So now what?  It would seem that greed is uppermost on the minds of many of our elected officials.  They don’t buck the big banks or the gun manufacturers or whoever else is paying for their campaigns, etc.  Maybe, if some of our returning veterans – those who volunteered because they wanted to make a difference and serve their country – would step up and serve again perhaps we might get control of our out-of-control country.

If not, there is always that limited term idea, but there we lose the value of those elected legislators who provide continuity and history.

Surely there is an answer to the violence within our country, Americans killing Americans.  Americans hating Americans.  This is not the land of the free and the home of the brave.  It appears to be more like a third-world country.  Our gentle, treat-others-as-we-want-to-be-treated ways have disappeared.

Somebody help!

Trying to Keep Up

I haven’t posted a blog lately because I have been terribly distracted with old and new computers.  My old one, “Fanny,” held not only all of my documents, emails, photos, websites set-ups, Facebook contacts, but all of these same things for the historical society where I volunteer, create exhibits, write news releases, etc.  So, when Fanny became terminally ill, not only did I move my things to a new computer, but I also separated and moved the historical society’s items to second new computer.  Oh, woel.  It was tedious, torturous and tough.

Also, my husband and I recently celebrated a milestone anniversary.  There has been quite a bit of celebrating over that event.  Looking back, it seems to me we have always been married.  I was a mere child when we promised ourselves to each other and he may have been just out of puberty.

While we agree on all the basic points of life, we still have discussions – sometimes animated – about the small things: who was it who played the protagonist’s role in “A Good Shepherd”; who said… etc.  These small disagreements are usually resolved with a hug or a smile.

Often a woman writing about her husband will give him a nickname.  “Fang” comes to mind.  I think of my very significant other as “Rock.”  It’s appropriate.  He’s a rock solid guy, my rock when needed, yet he can be stubborn and unmovable at times.

We have played a game for years, one that neither one acknowledges.  It has to do with being the last one to use something – toothpaste, bar soap, etc. To win one must be the last person to use the item  To lose one must be the first to open up a new tube or a bar of soap.We don’t really acknowledge winners or losers, except once Rock commented with a smile, “I see we’ve started some new soap in the shower.”  He had won that one.  I don’t like admitting it, but I cheated once.  The toothpaste tube was so empty it was flat, so I opened a trial size the dentist had given me and used it.  I felt bad afterward that I had not played fair in this silly game, and though I didn’t tell him, I never did it again.

Rock, as I said, is stubborn at times.  He likes to see the toilet paper fall down from the rear of the roll while I like to see it cascade over the top.  (Did you notice the verbs?  Isn’t mine so much more descriptive?  Is it any wonder that I prefer to see the roll that way?)  Whenever he puts on a new roll it’s always the way he likes it, even though he knows I will change it.  Once changed it remains that way.  I imagine he chuckles when he puts on a new roll then chuckles again when he sees what I have done.

We frequently have heated discussions on politics.  Our thoughts on this subject totally agree, although we are registered in different political parties. Still we cannot understand how “the other side” can be so blind, so stupid, so brain dead, so… well, you get the idea.

Here I could launch into a tirade about Indiana and its new law about serving same-sex couples in public places. Hasn’t the country gone beyond that?  And how about all those states making it harder for some people to vote? There’s no voter fraud in this country!  And why do some state governments feel that women should not have health care in certain kinds of clinics?  These clinics do more than perform abortions.  And what about…. Here is where I usually go into a tirade about what’s happening to my country and with my elected representatives.

So I’ll end with this.  Is this still America?  I find it hard to keep up and Rock agrees with me.  happy anniversary

Musings on Missed Moments

Today I was listening to the radio and heard a song from the original cast of Oklahoma.  Alfred Drake and Joan Roberts were singing “People Will Say We’re in Love.”  Boy, I wish I had been there to see that opening performance, I thought.  Oklahoma was the first “Book Musical” and opened on Broadway on March 31, 1943.  It was the first collaboration of that wonderful team of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II.  How thrilling it must have been to hear this music and see the story it supported unfolding before our eyes.  I am in awe of live theater anyway, even amateur productions, so this must have been incredible.  These two men had many more shows together until their last – Sound of Music.  And to see that on opening night, November 16, 1959, would have been even more thrilling, knowing it was their last.   Imagine, being there in the audience.  Mmm.

Missed moments.  My musings took me down another path.  Other moments I have missed.  The first that comes to mind is the Gettysburg Address, spoken on November 19, 1863 at the dedication of the Soldiers National Cemetery at Gettysburg… “the government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”  What eloquent words.  What powerful words.  And it has been reported that the people there hearing President Lincoln speak did not immediately respond to his message.  Yet his words live on.

Since we have so recently celebrated Martin Luther King’s birthday my thoughts naturally went to his “I have a dream speech,” given on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963.  Some say he had not intended to include his “dream speech” in the remarks he planned to give after the Civil Rights march in Washington.  He often included that “dream” in his sermons, though, and someone in the crowd who had heard it urged him to share it again.  It lingers.  It is incredibly powerful.

I like history. Never in classes.  The teachers/instructors/professors were just too dull and boring.  But afterward, as I progressed to this point in my life, it became clear that history is about people, not dates and events. Still,  there are a few events I would like to have witnessed firsthand.  Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendering his troops at Appomatoxx, which basically ended our Civil War; the high Japanese officials signing their surrender on board the USS Missouri on September 2, 1945; and yes, even Pres. George W. Bush claiming “Mission Accomplished” on the USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003.  That last item was a bit (years) premature, yet was a moment I would like to have been present to witness.

As I think about it, there are moments in nearly every field of endeavor I would like to have seen.  And that goes ‘way, ‘way back!

Here’s an example, I would like to have heard firsthand Winston Churchill when he vowed, “We shall never surrender!”  This was spoken as Hitler’s troops were hours away from invading France on May 10, 1940.  “We shall fight them on the beaches…we shall fight them on the seas and ocean…we shall fight them in France,” he promised.  His words carried a nation.

Another example: presidential speeches.  When FDR was inaugurated the first time, he told us that “the only thing we have to fear was fear itself.”  Now, not many inauguration speeches stand out in my memory, but another that does was when the young, seemingly vigorous Pres. John F. Kennedy told us, “ask not what your country can do for you…” Ahh.  To have been in the crowd.  I will say that these days, with television so much a part of events, it’s almost possible to imagine one is present.

Which brings to mind something I actually did witness.  When President Kennedy was assassinated four days of non-stop television coverage followed, and this was before 24/7 tv.  On the fourth day, after watching every moment of it I had to do something.  We were living in New Jersey at the time and so we bundled up our daughter and started off for Washington, D.C.  We wanted to be a part of it somehow, to be a part of the history that was unfolding there in that shocked and depressed city.  We dressed as though going to a funeral, as did many, many others in the crowds that swelled on either side of Pennsylvania Avenue.  It was the day that the president’s body was to be moved from the White House to the Capitol. People were standing many deep along the avenue to see the procession, the coffin being moved and the riderless horse that followed.  Just thinking about the boots reversed in the stirrups makes my eyes tear up.  It was solemn, the crowd was hushed.  Suddenly, someone who was carrying a portable television set cried out, “Oh, no!  They shot him!”  Those of us around the man rushed to get closer to see what he was seeing.  We all thought it was Robert Kennedy who had been shot.  But no, it was Lee Harvey Oswald.  Some of us knew this meant we might never know the whole story of the president’s assassination.  And we do not, even to this day.

Wanting to be there, to have been there in the past, can now only be satisfied by reading books and articles about what happened.  And, there are so many books out there for me to read…. Why, you know what this means, don’t you… I’m trying, but I’m barely keeping up!